January 2024 IssueLong scroll reading

December Brings S&P 500 To All-Time High

By Charles Boccadoro

All fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium Saturday, 30 December, reflecting performance through year-end. We used Refinitiv’s Friday data drop, which was last business day of year, to get an early peek at 2023 calendar year performance.

December is the second full year of The Great Normalization (TGN) market cycle. It also marks the 15th month of this market’s bull run and brings the S&P 500 to an all-time high. The index ended the year up 26.3%. Since the start of the bull run in October 2022, it’s up 35.8%. Here’s a breakout of State Street Sector ETF 2023 performance, which is a Pre-Set Screen in MultiSearch, our main search tool:

The chart below shows the performance growth for each sector ETF since inception. Those are big numbers for SPY! (Although first week of January has been a bit of a whimper.)

The year’s strong performance basically erased all drawdown from the TGN bear market that began in January 2022, as can be seen in the table below, which summaries full-cycle performance data for each cycle dating back to 1926.

Finally, here’s a breakout of the bear and bull markets from each cycle. Hopefully, the current bull is just getting started.

Bonds seem to have turned around finally after a terrible 2022. AGG, iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF, rallied 8.2% in the last two months, bringing its yearly return to 5.6%.

All the data from the charts and tables above came from our MFO Premium site. Given that Morningstar recently removed its fund screener from both its free and Investor sites, now is perhaps a good time to try ours … now in its 9th year.

MultiSearch, the site’s main tool, enables searches of some 36,000 ETFs, mutual funds, CEFs, ETNs, Interval Funds, Fund of Funds, and Insurance Funds employing literally hundreds of screening criteria across almost 100 evaluation periods. The subscription price is $120 per year, or $10 per month. Several of our tools remain free to the community, including QuickSearch, Great Owls, Three Alarm, and Dashboard of Profiled Funds. The home page includes various screenshots of the tools and analytics. 

We conducted our year-in-review webinar on Friday, 5 January. It highlights performance of funds across different market segments and attempts to showcase various search features, including additions since our mid-year webinar. Here is a link to the chart deck, which contains background information on all the site’s search tools and analytics. Here’s a link to the video.

If you have not already, be sure to check-out our new YouTube channel @MFOPremium, as described in the MFO December commentary.

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About Charles Boccadoro

Charles Boccadoro, BS (MIT), Post Graduate Diploma (von Karman Institute, BELGIUM). Associate editor, data wizard. Described by Popular Science as “enthusiastic, voluble and nattily-dressed,” Charles describes himself as “a recently retired aerospace engineer.” He doesn’t brag about a 30 year career that included managing Northrop Grumman’s Quiet Supersonic Platform and Future Strike Systems projects, working with NASA and receiving a host of industry accolades. Charles is renowned for thoughtful, data-rich analyses and is the driving force behind the Observer’s fund ratings and fund screeners.